Incoming Norwegian majority for thorium

We did it ! The conservative party’s Høyre national convention announced this morning they’ll favor a thorium program. Together with the progressive party Fremskrittspartiet chances are good that a majority coalition will form in government, replacing the incumbent redgreen mess of socialdemocrats, far out socialists and farmer’s labour union.

The socialdemocrats Arbeiderpartiet have managed to set modern record for incompetence. They have betrayed their proud heritage. Building the welfare state and the oil economy has succumbed to whimses of green fundamentalist teenagers under the spell of the CO2 fairy tale. The counterreaction is now in momentum going for Arctic oil and more hydropower. Their golden age culminates from nepotism under the dynasties Harlem and Stoltenberg. Gro Harlem Brundtland may still be a figure that collects greetings from the Clintons abroad but just her name mentioned on her own turf is enough to spur contempt in the polls. The current prime minister is the son of the diplomat who contributed to the UN mess of the Balkan wars.  We’ll probably never get rid of the youthful sins of the dreamers in the far out socialists but they’ve taken their share of wear for now. The agrarian luddites however hopefully have their bells tolling for good this September. 

We will now proceed to organise a national thorium program. Norway still has a neutron source for adequate materials’ testing. National research centers have already listed the molten salt reactor as the obvious choice. Sweden has 5000 tons of Spent Nuclear Fuel and a new nuclear programme coming. Finland is a competently managed country with future plans for another 6 reactors. 

Stortinget

The Norwegian Parliament Stortinget is set to back a new government in September going for a thorium energy program.  Link Dagbladet (Norwegian) 

Gräv inte ner kärnavfallet !

Det finns inga atomsopor. Det ”utbrända kärnbränslet” är en ovärdelig strategisk tillgång för framtida teknologier och måste därför tas hand om på samma sätt som om det vore guldreserv eller arvsilver.

SKB kritiseras unisont för råkör i handläggningen. Nu efter årtionden med debatt och förberedelser skall plötsligt allt avgöras : Lokalisering och metod för slutförvar. Man åberopar oblygt kapslingsmetoden KBS3 et teknologisk världsherravälde och arrangerar internationell konferens för potensiella kunder. Blytunga innvändingar från ett samlat KTH om kopparkorrosion och andra relevanta frågor avfärdas med en klackspark utan hårda data. En motion i Sveriges Riksdag och utspel från SSM kräver en oberoende internationell granskning. 

Det är bråttom då vattenbassängen på reaktorplatserna börjar bli fulla. Det ”utbrända bränslet” – häretter Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF)- lagras temporärt några år för att komme ned i temperatur och strålningsnivå för vidare hantering. Saken måste avgöras snart och fallhöjden är stor. Om inte direkt kris, så måste en plan på plats för handhavande av SNF.

Allmännheten är inte informerad om uranbristen. 30% av dagens reaktorbränsle kommer från dekommissonerade vapen. Uranproduktionen måste dubblas till 2015. Frågan är om gruvkapasiteten verkligen kommer att öka. I mellantiden bränns uranet bort i vattenreaktorerna med en skamlig låg effektivitet på mindre än 1%. Mera än 99% blir SNF.

Att 200 nya reaktorer byggs i tillegg till dagens 450 gör bara uranbristen ändå mera akut. De närmaste titalls år kommer kräva tusentals nya reaktorer globalt. Den rådande teknologin med fasta bränslestavar i vatten är ute av stånd till att leverera. California har lagstadgat förbud emot kärnteknologi som inte löser avfallsfrågan. Stölder av SNF är ett bekymmer men ingen showstopper.

Framtida kärnkraftteknologi kommer att använda utarmat uran och thorium till hög effektivitet. SNF är en helt nödvendig katalysator för att kunna åstadkomma uthålliga bränslecyklar. Att gräva ner SNF är därför att kasta bort nyckeln til framtiden.

En plan för omhändertagande av det svenska ”utbrända kärnbränslet” syftande till använding i framtida reaktorer måste snarast möjligt utarbetas. Goda priser kommer betalas för SNF på denna marknad. Båda Östhammar och Oskarshamn kan få flera arbetstilfällen än va en ren oövervakad begravningsverksamhet bjuder. Teknologiskt är såkallad pyroprocessing för vidare mellanlagring rutin i väntan på en komplett plan. Som ett minimum måste återtag tydligen planeras.

Elling Disen, grundare Thorium ElectroNuclear AB

Thought experiment : The Torro

So Bernard Lietaer proposes a new global currency, the Terra, to be backed by a basket of  stable commodities. The Terra should ease currency risks, facilitate international trade, underwrite long term investement and leverage large scale infrastructure. 

What is a basket of stable commodities ? Oil yoyos, uranium is a thin market, rare earth metals are close to monopoly, steel could be locked in and unrecyclable if designed into transcontinental gas pipelines and railways, Lithium will run out if tried on a natural scale for battery cars. Meaningless biofuels distorted food markets.

Now all of the commodities above would have done better as a basket anchor than Wall Street crooks, national money printing and – gold, respectively. Wall Street greed itself is a large part of the problem we’re in. At the current rate of printing tailspin and Black Hole banking, pls show me a solid reasoning that we’re not headed towards another Great Depression – or the Mother Of All Inflations. As for printing, both Benjamin Franklin printing Continental Scrip and Abraham Lincoln churning out Greenbacks did quite well.  Ol’ Honest Abe financed the hemorraghing  Civil War, kicked bankers’ ass and supported an uninterrupted industrial boom with only 30% inflation on the dollar – not bad. For those of you still fancying gold, pls understand that gold does not do the trick. There’s too little of it and people are too psychologically attached to it.  Gold currency leads to Scrooge economics, modern slavery so to say and a too tight emphasis on so-called property rights. On this subject, pls consult The Gridlock Economy to see how philosophical principles extended to large scale undermine optimal development – a sort of anti-commons for the common worse.

Let’s introduce global thorium Th reserves to back a global currency, The Torro. OECD’s Red Book reports 6 million tons Th. When countries start updating their inventories, there will probably be at least 15 million tons because Th is 3x more geochemically abundant than uranium. A couple of truly unique geological formations, volcanoes in Norway and Namibia (I think it is), could contain rare earths and Th deep down int0 the crust for kilometers. Suppose there’s a universally accepted commodity method for turning Th into kWhs (the molten salt piping) and set a global kWh-price of 0.03€. Do your math and discover that global thorium generate future revenue streams of  at the order of ~ 1 million trillions € – when Th is allowed to account for some %s of the kWh !

That’s not so bad compared to the CDS derivates that commercial banks owe to the shadow banking system – or the other way around was it – Last I looked these Collateral Damage Sheets , as sarcastics call them, totalled 100 trillion $ – 1000 times less the Th mountain.

torroAnd by the way, the Th mountain is real. It can’t be sliced into risk and it’s premium, it will increase nicely and slowly in value as people pay more for the kWh and discover some more of it. The only valuable use of Th would be for kWh production. Costs for mining, purification, storage and molten salt reactors are like oil infrastructure to oil – ie nothing in comparison. It’ so much of it that high speed rails across Eurasia and hydrogen production for global car fleet should be a piece of cake. Even George Soros wouldn’t speculate against the Torro nor could Hank Paulson pull rabbits out of his bald head.

What to produce in Western Sweden ?

Western Sweden is held up by the car manufacturers SAAB and Volvo and their subcontractors. Despite optimistic rethoric out of SAAB’s management after being betrayed by their owner GM, SAAB’s future is extremely gloomy with billons of dollars in debt, factories at half capacity, too few and too ordinary models. In a global crunch, a new owner necessary for the Swedish government to intervene in the chapter 11 procedure could only be a billionaire aficionado.

What to produce instead of traditional vehicles on hydrocarbones ?

  • Fuel cells, electric engines and batteries could be acceptable for tropical climate in urban zones but not much else. Cairo, Mumbai and Peking would be better off without exhaust and smog with small lightweight vehicles with 100 km range and omnipresent service if they break down on the highways. For us in the cold lonesome backwoods fuel cells, electric engines and batteries are just not going to cut it. 
  • So we need combustion engines on hydrogen. Next generation storage technology will go to 700bar pressurised hydrogen gas that will give you mileage and comfort as today. The question is : hydrogen gas stations. Liquid hydrogen only makes sense on a large scale. Linde Gas in Germany today has a facility producing 4 tons/day ie 500 fillups / day to be competitive. Designs are available for 100 tons/day and they will be excellent for densely populated areas and high traffic. 
  • So what to do with sparsely frequented strecthes of road ? Store, transport and distribute hydrogen as ammonia. We would then need small and mediumscale gas stations based on ammonia tanks, crackers and 700bar compressors. Voila a very interesting new opportunity for worldclass automotive and chemical engineers laid off in Sweden. 

And then we have the nuts and bolts needed for an infrastructure on thorium molten salt reactors :

  • Piping and pumps in special alloys
  • Heat exchangers moulded in carbon composites
  • Robotics for handling of nuclear fuel and waste
  • Full realtime monitoring instruments
  • Massproduction and global shipping in standard containers from a well organised port
  • Installation and operation support 

1000 molten salt reactors would be a business of 2000 billion euros. The planet needs 10 000 on the 2030 time horizon.  The technical competences needed for a thorium boom are on the scale as for cars and trucks. And it will be as glorious and profitable as cars ever was.

So Sweden wants nuclear energy, you said..

The happy message this week is of course posted by the Swedish government. After agony in two of the parties making up the liberal-conservative majority, the effective ban on new reactors is declared obsolete. A referendum 29 years back lies behind this long-standing blocking of an efficient energy policy. The new proposal needs to be walked through Parliament and faces red-green opposition. The proposal contains pork for wind projects but opens up for energyintensive industry to start planning for new reactors on market terms.

Two small reactors at Barsebäck of about 500MWe each have been decommissioned. The key insight is that nor wind nor solar nor so-called renewables have been able to make up the loss in power.  Why should we entrust our future with those solutions now when the they have proved inadequate  ? Sweden needs to start planning rightaway. The 10 reactors face end of life in some 20-30 years.  

When looking for new technologies, the planners should take these considerations :

  1. Uranium mining must double until 2015 to serve the existing fleet. Huge risks faces the uranium supply when planning 80 years ahead. However thorium is abundant.
  2. What should be done with the Spent Nuclear Fuel SNF currently in temporary storage ? The State of California has a law prohibiting any technology that does not solve the SNF issue. SNF is a misunderstood resource and key to any new generation of nuclear power. Molten Salt Reactors can eat away the SNF mountain wholsesale and batchwise with just simple fluorination. In fact the SNF must be regarded as humanity’s survival match to unlock the thorium resource.
  3. What about the copper containers to store High Level Waste ? Well, they don’t last 1 million year because of corrosion.  In fact the waste stream out of Molten Salt Reactors would need isolation for about 1000 years, realistically achievable with vitrification fex
  4. Costs ? A standard water reactor on uranium is inflationary given the demand from other countries and the few firms taking it on. A Molten Salt Reactor will be 20x cheaper. 
  5. What about safety ? Sweden has experienced a couple of incidents the last couple of years reminding us of the inherent instability and risk factors of water reactors. Why not go for a Molten Salt Reactor that simply is inherently stable and unable to release large amounts of radiotoxicity ?
  6. Hesitant to develop new nuclear technology ? The Molten Salt Reactor has 5 years logged operation. Generation IV reactors are as far off as ever. Barack is not keen on nuclear anyway. Just go for it yourself with our Nordic partners ! 

Davos : Anyone with a clue ?

The annual gathering ov VIPs in snowy Davos is starting. During the week power brokers should discuss the pressing issues. But the programme is without any speakers or downloadable presentations. Are they serious ? 

The financial crisis is reported to be the main focus. So you’d expect them to produce intelligent answers to these exact bits of news :

1) James Hansen’s former NASA boss now openly declares himself a skeptic to anthropogen global warming. Is it time to stop this nonsense ?

2) What happened to Hank Paulson’s 200 billion USD in TARP money already injected ? Why should Barack’s 825 billion trickle down when no trickle happened during Clinton and Bush presidencies ? 

3) Will The Natural One (Bill Clinton) admit that the US runs short on uranium ? That production must be doubled within 2015 ?

4) Could anyone explain why banks have the right to collect interest on the debt trillions they created out of thin air ? 

Cynics might say that Davos is a conspiration that aims to maximize the feeling of crisis. The financial/banking web, always in need of fresh meat to feed upon, is now in Bull collecting mode : robbing small investors of their money, dumping stock prices for buyback. 

The key for unlocking is simply openness. We want to know the true state of Saudi oil reserves, Russian gas reserves and global coal. We want transcripts from the inner circle of the FED.  Don’t expect anything like that to come out of Davos. Maybe French writer Herve Kempf was right.  The rich are destroying the planet whether they know it or not.

  paulson2

From Max Keiser’s BBCWorld  show The Oracle

Welcome !

On Barack’s first working day in the Oval Office, inspiration came to start a commentary on our time’s most important issues.

This blog should be about five urgent challenges :

– to launch an energy infrastructure running on thorium

– to start using hydrogen as a fuel but stored as ammonia

– to build transcontinental high speed railways

– to realise that global cooling is upon us

– to fix the global financial system

There will be roughly one post per week.